Volunteering at Vivid | Janet Catalano

By Janet Catalano, Diploma of Business (Event Management)

On a Wednesday night about 500 of us volunteers all met at the Powerhouse Museum to have a briefing of the event and our roles and responsibilities. The staff were all very friendly and helpful. A week later on the first Sunday of Vivid, I met my team for that night at Martin Place. We were briefed of the area, paired up and sent on our way to interact with the public, answer questions and direct people to nearby train stations and bathrooms. It was pretty smooth sailing and the only struggle was the cold temperatures.

For my next few shifts I was stationed at Circular Quay. When I arrived I met my team and was again briefed on the area, but this night was a lot busier than the first! The crowds were multiplied by 10! We had to manage crowds for each installation. We had to keep the public as happy as possible, whilst they waited in 40 minute lines with their small children. We had to be on the look out for anything suspicious, dangerous or anything not working properly and then relay that back to our team leaders. It was all practicing basic customer service skills, whilst our team leaders and volunteer coordinators rushed us all around and dealt with all the larger issues.

And then prior my last shift I was approached by the Director of “I Need Helpers” and he asked me if I was interested in being a team leader for the last night of Vivid at The Rocks. I said yes and began to stress as it was a whole lot more responsibility.

When I turned up, the other team leaders were beyond helpful, and showed the little newbie the ropes. They gave me tips and tricks to handle the difficult situations. I had to rotate my team through all the installations throughout the night, ensure everybody had a break, be the point of contact for all questions and issues in my zone and then be responsible to pass the message on to the EOC. There were a few minor stressful moments throughout the night, but everything was pretty under control. And then in the last 20 minutes we had two medical emergencies at the exact same time in two opposite locations, and one was in my zone. We had to get medics out and the Volunteer Coordinators to come down and help contain the situation. Within 15 minutes both emergencies were under control and taken care of. It was a great experience for me to have to handle a medical emergency over radio.

The variety of people I met at the internship was incredible. I met other students and also other volunteers who had years and years of experience in the event world. They shared past experiences with me, both positives and negatives and gave me some helpful advice that I am grateful for and can take on board.

This internship gave me the opportunity to challenge myself in a team leadership role, which was a lot of responsibility, but through the help of my incredible team, they supported me and gave me the confidence to not only conquer the role at that event, but to go out and take up more of those roles.

Find out more about Event Management at Macleay

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